Move the location of the database?


I am just starting to use DevonThink and wanted to know if you can change the locaiton of the database files and folders from /Library/Application Support/DEVONthink

Basically, I want to have the location be on a secondary hard drive instead of my primary hard drive. I’m guessing as I add more and more files that the size will get to be pretty big.

Thanks for any advice.


It can be done, but can get a bit tricky. I haven’t used DT Personal for years; this sort of thing is much simpler with DT Pro.

Quit DEVONthink.

Start by moving the folder named DEVONthink (which is your database) out of //Application Support/ to your external drive.

On your external drive, in the Finder, select the DEVONthink folder and create an alias of it.

Back on your boot drive, trash the DEVONthink folder after making an archive of it – just in case. Now replace it with the alias file leading to the database folder on the external drive.

I think that will work. But make certain the external drive is always online before you launch DEVONthink. IF DT can’t find an existing database, it may create a new empty database.

I don’t have DT Personal on this computer, but you might also check through the user documentation and/or online help about changing the location of the database folder.

BTW your are right to be concerned if you don’t have much free space left on your boot drive. Running out of free space can cause all kinds of bad things, including overwriting of your data files by OS temporary and swap files. Apple engineers like to see 15 to 20% of the drive space left free to give the operating system and applications breathing room for temporary and swap files.

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Wait isn’t it pretty easy, not sure if devonthink personal is harder to do this in but as long as everything is imported you can just move that single database file to a different drive and open the database file and all will be well or am I missing something?

Unlike DT Pro, DT Personal has a single database at a fixed Finder location.


So how would I do the same thing in DTPO?

That’s really easy.

Quit DT Pro/Office.

In the Finder, move a database anywhere you wish – to another mounted volume or whatever.

Double-click on the database package file. The application will launch and the database will open.

That’s it.


Okay, that’s what I thought, but I wanted to doublecheck. Thanks for the help, as always!

Hi! This thread essentially addresses what I’d like to know, though it’s quite dated - is the process of switching database location to an external hard drive still the same?

I’d like to move my databases to an external hard-drive, going forward. My 2013 Macbook Air is pretty limited memory-wise yet I’ll be relying on it for thesis writing for about two months while abroad, so I definitely want to be able to access my entire collection of databases (which have been stored on my Mac Mini up to this point). I also hope this means that, long term, I can continue to switch between computers without needing to bother with Sync, as long as I have my ExtHD available.

Yes, Bill’s advice still stands now.

  1. Quit DEVONthink.
  2. Move the .dtBase2 (and/or .dtSparse files, if you have encrypted databases) to the external drive.
  3. Double-click each to open them in DEVONthink again.
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